Near-Death Experiences

Paisley
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Near-Death Experiences

It has been argued by many members on this particular forum that there is absolutely no evidence that consciousness can exist independently of the brain and the body. Well, this is not entirely true. There is evidence - namely, NDEs (Near-Death Experiences) and OBEs (Out of Body Experiences). This thread will discuss the near-death experience. 

The phenomenological aspects associated with near-death exepriences are listed below. These characteristics have been reported regardless of culture or society (although the vocabulary employed to describe the experiences have differ).

Quote:

1 A very unpleasant sound/noise is the first sensory impression to be noticed (R. Moody: Life after Life);

2 A sense of being dead;

3 Pleasant emotions; calmness and serenity;

4 An out-of-body experience; a sensation of floating above one's own body and seeing the surrounding area;

5 Floating up a blue tunnel with a strong, bright light or garden at the end;

6 Meeting deceased relatives or spiritual figures;

7 Encountering a being of light, or a light (often interpreted as being the deity or deities in whom they personally believe);

8 Being given a life review (the "life-flashing-before-your-eyes" phenomenon);

9 Reaching a border or boundary;

10 A feeling of being returned to the body, often accompanied by a reluctance.

11 Feeling of warmth even though naked.

(source: Wikipedia: Near-death experience)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_death_experience#cite_note-autogenerated2-43

NDEs have steadily increased in accordance with the advancement in modern resuscitation technology. A Gallop Poll reported in 1992 that nearly eight million Americans have experienced a NDE. [1] Recent scientific studies have demonstrated that between 10 and 20% of people who are clinciallly near death (such as cardiac arrest) have reported a near-death experience. [2]

NDEs have transformative power. Individuals (including former avowed atheists) who have undergone NDEs have reported personality changes (less anxiety and fear concerning death, a change of values from materialistic ones to spiritual ones, and inner peace). [3] In fact, A. J. Ayer (self-professed atheist and eminent philosopher and proponent of "logical positivism" ) is reported to have had a near death experience in which he had purportedly seen "God." [4]

The NDE of Pam Reynolds is especially interesting because of the situation in which it occurred. Reynolds had to undergo a very risky brain surgery due to an aneurysm. The operation required that her brain be completely drained of all blood. She would be declared clinically dead during the operation. During this time, she would experience an NDE. Later she recounted her experience, describing things during the operation that were validated by the medical staff.

Quote:

Reynolds was under close medical monitoring during the entire operation. During part of the operation she had no brain-wave activity and no blood flowing in her brain, which left her clinically dead. She made several observations about the procedure which later were confirmed by medical personnel as surprisingly accurate.

This famous near-death experience is considered by many to be proof of the reality of the survival of consciousness after death, and of a life after death 

(source: Wikipedia: Near-death experience)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_death_experience#cite_note-autogenerated2-43

1 < Mauro, James (1992) Bright lights, big mystery. Psychology Today, July 1992. http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-19920701-000030.html

2 < http://www.aspsi.org/feat/life_after/tymn/bruce_greyson.htm

3 < Ex-atheist describes near-death experience: 01/31/2004 http://archive.southcoasttoday.com/daily/01-04/01-31-04/c04rg223.htm

4 < "Did Atheist Philosopher See God When He Died?" by William Cash, National Post http://gonsalves.org/favorite/atheist.htm

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Paisley wrote: NDEs have

Paisley wrote:

 

NDEs have steadily increased in accordance with the advancement in modern resuscitation technology.

Shocking, really.

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So? It would be surprising

So? It would be surprising if the experiences did not have a lot of similarities across different people, since our experiences are governed by the way our brains respond to reduced blood flow and other common aspects of that situation - just helps to prove how much our mental experiences are a function of the physical structure and chemistry of our brain and nervous system.

You are very remiss in not mentioning Susan Blackmore, who has a BA (Hons) degree in psychology and physiology, and studied NDE ( and the paranormal) extensively in her earlier career, as a believer, and was lead by the results of her investigations into strong scepticism.

EDIT: All good evidence in for the naturalistic, non-supernatural nature of conscious experience, and how closely it is tied to the physical state and functioning of the brain. Thanks for that.

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Even with a completely

Even with a completely strict materialistic world-view, there is nothing surprising about NDE's around the world exibiting the same, or similar symptoms.

 

The brain plays weird sensery tricks on all of us every night, it's called dreaming.

 

It is not difficult to imagine that dying will cause the brain to create sensery experiences like warmth, a feeling of moving around, floating through a tunnel, and the memory, and imagination conjuring up various scenarios, like meeting deceaced loved ones, or deities.

 

The Pam Reynolds case is much more interesting. While her brain is being drained of blood she can experience a dreamlike state in which she thinks alot of stuff is happening that really isn't. This experience may also feel as though it lasts longer than it actually does, since that phenomenon is familiar to anyone who has woken up in the morning, looked at the clock, fallen asleep again and had what feels like a very long dream, only to wake up and see only 10 minutes have passed.

 

The ability to document things that has happened while she was out, is however, alot more interesting. Since this is only one case, it is not sufficient evidence to draw any conclussion, since it hasn't been repeated. With a p of 1, there is always the possibility of a fluke, a coincidence, or a hoax, but I'm not one to kill anyones buzz. 

 

Consider me intrigued.

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 My own (already written)

 My own (already written) contribution to the question:

Hambydammit wrote:
Is this one life all there really is?

All the evidence says that it is. Despite hocus pocus claims from preachers and urban legends about people who have been to heaven and come back, there's no evidence that life goes on after death. Consciousness is dependent on physical processes. When the brain dies and the body decays, there is no longer an organized physical process, so the only logical conclusion is that there is no consciousness.

But what about near death experiences? Couldn't they be proof of an afterlife? Let's examine the evidence. All the stories are just that – stories. Anecdotal evidence, as we've seen, is extremely weak, and should only be considered when stronger corroborating evidence exists. Were the people who experienced NDEs in good mental and physical condition? Obviously not, as near death is a pretty bad situation, both physically and mentally. We know that even minute changes in the brain can trigger wildly erratic perceptions and behaviors. Dying is considerably more than a minute change in the brain. On the surface, the evidence for NDE's as proof of an afterlife seems fragile at best.

We're still not done, though. Is there better evidence that NDE's are simply physical, and that the perceptions of heaven and hell are illusions? It turns out that there is quite a lot. Before discussing NDEs directly, we need to be clear on a few terms.

If you've ever watched the movie, The Princess Bride, you will remember Miracle Max's famous words about death: “Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do. Go through his clothes and look for loose change.” The scientific descriptions are not as witty, but they're not radically different. There is a big difference between clinical death and brain death. Clinical death usually results from cardiac arrest. When the heart stops pumping, neurons no longer receive oxygen. Without new oxygen, they continue to fire for a short while, sometimes with odd side effects. It would only be a slight stretch to say that a clinically dead person is mostly dead.

Brain death, on the other hand, is all dead. Clinical death can be reversed within a certain time frame. We've all heard stories, and seen depictions on medical dramas. The heart can be started chemically, electrically, and manually, depending on the situation. Assuming that there is still some neural activity, starting a clinically dead person's heart will bring them “back to life.” Not so with brain death. Once the brain dies, the person is fully dead, and will not come back.

What, then, can we say about people who are clinically dead? For one thing, they are the only people who have ever had NDE's and lived to tell about them. For another, we can make some observations about what happens when the brain begins to die. If these observations form a parsimonious explanation for NDE's, we will have a compelling reason to believe they are not supernatural, and do not give proof of an afterlife.*

As the brain becomes oxygen depleted, neural networks begin to break down. Infants and small children have small neural networks. As they age, they form larger and larger networks as they process more and more information. An adult can temporarily break down access to fully formed networks by using drugs, or possibly meditative practice (although the latter is the subject of considerable debate). In fact, it's ironic that in the vernacular, many people say they have “transcendent” experiences while on mind altering drugs. The reality is that they are actually moving to a lower level of consciousness!

The sense of “loss of self” is a commonly reported experience in NDEs, and it has a well understood cause. Though the technical explanation sounds quite daunting to non-scientists, the cause is quite simple. In some cases, extreme overproduction of serotonin can inhibit the ability of neurons to pump potassium out of neural channels, effectively de-electrolyzing the neurons. In others, drugs can perform a function known as transmitter masking, essentially inhibiting the ability of transmitters to function properly by substituting an imposter chemical (such as an opiate) for the “proper” chemical. The end result is that synaptogenesis (the process of forming synapses) becomes temporarily “flooded.” In other words, new synapses are formed and then overturned so quickly that the brain becomes unable to process them effectively.

Critics will often object at this point in a conversation. After all, scientists have not explainedevery aspect of NDEs. In fact, most scientists are perfectly willing to admit that there are some very puzzling things about them, and the explanations are not always apparent. Hopefully, you've gotten good at spotting the fallacy. Someone who wants to believe in NDEs will say, “Since science doesn't have an answer, it must be proof of the afterlife.” This is a fallacy of ignorance, and is not valid logic. Still, many will argue that there are common threads. People from different religions have the same kinds of experiences. Kevin Nelson, a neurophysiologist at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, has this to say: "People say that because there's a common thread running through them all there must be a spiritual element," he says. "I look at that common thread and I see a biological process." (New Scientist, October 17, 2006) Nelson believes that he can explain the entire experience in purely scientific terms. He might be able to, but then again, he might miss something. This is not as relevant as it may seem. The important point is that good critical thinking demands that we not make up answers.

In fact, there is a common misconception about NDEs. It's not necessary to be at death's door to experience one. Quoting from the New Scientist article:

Nelson says that that's because despite the name, NDE has little to do with actually being close to death. He argues that the experience stems from an acute bout of "REM intrusion" - a glitch in the brain's circuitry that, in times of extreme stress, may flip it into a mixed state of awareness where it is both in REM sleep and partially awake at the same time. "The concept that our brain is either 100 per cent awake or 100 per cent in REM sleep is absolutely erroneous," says Mark Mahowald, a neurologist at the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Minneapolis. "We can have pieces of one state intruding into another, and that's when things get interesting."

REM intrusion is a common feature of narcolepsy - a neurological disorder characterised by uncontrollable bouts of sleep that can cause elaborate hallucinations and, sometimes, out-of-body experiences. But REM intrusion can affect anyone, and frequently does. Recent estimates suggest that up to 40 per cent of people have experienced "sleep paralysis", a form of REM intrusion in which you awaken with part of your brain still in REM sleep and your body paralysed. Often the result is a terrifying feeling of being unable to move, accompanied by visual or auditory hallucinations and pressure on the chest. Sleep paralysis has been offered as a rational explanation for many apparently supernatural phenomena, including witch attacks, visitations by the dead, and more recently alien abductions.

Scientists are experimenting with the phenomenon of out of body sight, too. Olaf Blanke, a cognitive neurologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, has caused subjects to see their legs, disembodied, from a floating perspective, simply by applying an electrical stimulus to the angular gyrus, a part of the brain involved with processing sensory information. (New Scientist)

There's yet another example of transcendental experiences that we should look at. Epileptics often report NDE-like perceptions after having particularly intense seizures. Seizures which effect the limbic system are well known for causing religious or transcendent experiences. In a way, this is an opposite cause for a similar effect. When a person has a seizure, their brain is firing too many neurons at once. Just like a computer, our brain seldom uses all of it's capacity at once. The myth that we only use 10% of our brains comes from a simple misunderstanding of this concept. When a computer is idle, or is only running a few processes, it uses a small percentage of its total processing power. Our brains function essentially the same way. Also, just like a computer, when we over tax our brains, the results are not always pleasant. How this relates to clinical death is simple. When the heart weakens, the body must compensate by increasing blood pressure drastically, keeping precious oxygen flowing to the brain. The increase in pressure wreaks havoc on the brain. Though it is still alive, it is far from normal functioning.

There is much speculation about the connection between epilepsy and religion. A nun at a Carmelite monestary in California recently discovered that the visions and transcendental raptures she'd been experiencing for years were actually epilepsy. Careful review of the private lives of many religious figures has prompted the question, were many of the prophets and religious visionaries of the past epileptics? In the end, we will probably never know about those who have long since passed. New research is coming in all the time, however, and as the connection becomes more and more concrete, it's becoming harder and harder to dismiss the evidence that NDEs, as well as mystical experiences not associated with dying, are simply misfiring neurons playing a game with our perception.

We can look at this another way. Dismiss for a moment all the possible explanations that scientists have come up with. In a recent survey, researchers found that among people who had had NDEs, a full 60 percent had sleep problems involving REM intrusion. Only 24 percent of people who had not had NDEs had similar problems. There is clearly a physical connection between REM intrusion and NDEs. Which explanation makes more sense? That there is an afterlife, and the apparent connection to sleep problems is coincidence, or that the connection is evidence of what really causes them? (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12274186/)

So, in the end, we have to concede that though there might be compelling emotional reasons to want to believe in life after death, there's simply not enough compelling logical reasons. In fact, if we apply our objectivity test by substituting another trivial question, we see clearly that without the emotional tug on our reason, we would dismiss the question out of hand. There is simply no reason to believe it.

 

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Well, the first thing

Well, the first thing is that it is not entirely true that all NDE events are all that similar. Read your own links Paisley. They vary across cultural boundaries and children, who presumably are not yet fully acculturated report NDE events that are lacking in details.

 

Also, I must note that a friend of mine had one after an accident several years ago and his report was nothing like that standard one that we are supposed to expect. He reports that he had an angry conversation with some entity on the other side and was then shown his future before he was sent back. Apparently, some of what he was shown has subsequently occurred but he has never given me the details on that, so it may just be things that could happen to anyone are thus fail to be remarkable.

 

If there are any similarities, those are hardly surprising as the way that the brain is stressed in the process of dying may be similar across many people.

 

As far as Pam Reynolds goes, she had the most specific parts of her NDE at the beginning of her surgery when she was only under general anesthesia. While situational awareness is fairly rare in such cases, it has been documented in the medical literature. Hell's bells, there are even support groups for people who have been traumatized by the phenomenon.

 

In any case, the fact that she could describe what a bone saw looks like may not be all that controversial. Sure, she claims that she did not know that information but I don't really see how we could know that with certainty. Her surgeon may have explained the procedure to her, in fact, informed consent laws probably require some type of discussion before she can sign the consent forms. She may have seen one on TV at some point, she could have researched her surgery on the internet.

 

Basically, there are lots of ways that she could have been holding the information on a subconscious basis before the surgery started.

 

Here is an example right out of real life: A couple of weeks ago, I had a dream that I was using a new astronomical instrument that was capable of much finer resolution than any similar instrument previously built. With that new toy, I was able to solve one of the outstanding puzzles of the universe. When I woke up that morning, I checked the news as usual to find out that the Planck space observatory had just been launched.

 

As it happens, I am a huge astronomy/cosmology buff so I must have heard about it somewhere. I don't recall where that might have been but somehow, I managed to program myself to have that specific dream on that specific night.

 

Now, if in the next couple of years, it turns out that the details of my observations are somewhat similar to what they eventually find, that still will not be a big deal. It would involve multiple big bang events occurring at different times and locations, if you are really curious. However, there are some speculations in the cosmological community along those lines. So again, even what at first may seem to be an accurate prediction would really only be an example of one of several scientific speculations of which I am aware coming to be confirmed.

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It's funny because I never

It's funny because I never really made a connection of it being a "near death experience," but I believe I've encountered this so called phenomenon several times. In fact, I can do it on command...

First off, let me just say I do NOT believe there is anything supernatural occurring during one of these episodes. I do not know the exact biological trigger that sets it off, but what I believe it to be is simply an involuntary lapse into lucid dreaming during a woken state. There have been studies that suggest REM during these NDE’s, and given the symptoms of temporary paralysis, increased sensitivity to light and sound, and often unexplainable brain activity (or visions), I think it makes more sense than “God didn’t think much of me before but now he’s handed me a mission!"

 

Ok, now I’ll explain my own personal experience with this (or whatever the hell it is that happens to me). It started when I was younger, when I was trying to go to sleep and would all of a sudden become paralyzed but still awake. I could move my eyes, remained conscious, could still hear everything going on around me, but I was definitely not asleep.

 

AS BAD AS IT SOUNDS NOW…I honestly thought I was being intruded by ghosts, since I was a child and had limited understanding of science and an overactive imagination. I would get cold chills and sweat which I believe was a response of being absolutely terrified, but one of the signs of being haunted is a sudden drop of temperature. I knew this, because I watched a lot of horror movies.

Now, I also don’t believe in ghosts so that theory got shit-canned years ago, but after researching my experiences I came across lucid dreaming and that seemed to make the most sense. The neat part, is I can create this state on command very easily. All I do is make myself extremely tired (works best when I stay up for 24 hours or longer playing games or whatever), I lay down and allow my body to relax (concentrating on each individual muscle), and NOT allowing myself to drift into sleep. You just allow your body to relax while remaining focused.

 

When you enter this state your first initial response is panic because you cannot move your body. It’s pretty much automatic, even as an adult, if you’re not used to it. You can struggle and get yourself out of this paralysis but it’s difficult. So difficult, in fact, my muscles would be tired after coming out of this. Especially my neck muscles because when you cannot move your body, I think turning your head seems to be a person’s response in determining if you’re really paralyzed (it was at least with me). Over time, I was able to get slip in and slip out of this state easily.

 

Now, this is just my personal experience and there are differences between what I go through and what others claim to go through. I don’t have visions, I never saw a bright blinding light, I HAVE gotten the sensation of lifting from my body. Not always, but occasionally it feels as if I’m levitating. I cannot look down at my body (especially since I cannot move my neck), but there’s a definite feeling of being stationary, and suddenly lifting. 

 

I would just assume that the average person who goes through one of these episodes either doesn’t have the control that I do, so they quickly enter a dream state, or maybe they have a more exaggerated episode than me. I considered doing a sleep trial to see if I’m right on my assumption is all just lucid dreaming but haven’t had the time. Feel free to offer any opinions, but be warned…I’m a skeptical person. I don’t believe in the paranormal so I’m not trying to lean my experiences in that direction, even though they probably sound weird to many of you.


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In response to increased

In response to increased NDE's during resuscitation, I've also heard the theory that when your body and mind are temporarily disconnected, the NDE is the brain's response to coping with this breach (hence the supplemented visions). Meaning, you're basically dead but the brain is still somehow slightly active (maybe the brain doesn't always die at the exact same moment as the body?), and when you're resuscitated, it's like hitting a reset button on your brain and that's just the end result. Maybe a lack of blood flow followed by a sudden burst of electrical activity and/or adrenaline affects the mind during this helpless state? I'm sure there's a biological explanation for all of this that we either don't understand yet, or which may be documented but not added to this thread.


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Penn & Teller on NDE/OBE :

Penn & Teller on NDE/OBE : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1YmEkCJ87s

And neuroscientist Michael Persinger recreates them in his lab : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCVzz96zKA0

Man, that "God Helmet" looks really dorky.

And this : http://www.skepdic.com/nde.html

"in 2006 scientists demonstrated brain activity in someone in a vegetative state, which is not identical to a flat EEG but which indicates that some machines might detect  brain activity while others do not.* Thus, those researchers who claim that their patients have memories of experiences they had when they were dead (as Dr. Michael Saborn does of musician Pam Reynolds) may be mistaken. Just because their machines don't register anything cannot be taken as proof positive that a person is dead, nor can it be taken as proof positive that the patient isn't aware, on some level, of what is going on around her. Unconscious patients may hear what surgeons and nurses are saying, even if the hospital machines aren't registering any brain activity.*"

"At this point in our knowledge, to claim that NDEs provide strong evidence that the soul exists independently of the body, and that there is an afterlife awaiting that soul that just happens to coincide with the beliefs and wishes of the near-death experient, seems premature."


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We have already been over

We have already been over this.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/17111

"Dr. Jamer Whinnery did centrifuge tests on pilots for the Air Force and they kept reporting out of body experiences. It turns out that you lose all sense of where you are when your brain is starved of oxygen. Also the pilots reported seeing bright lights, feeling at peace, and feeling that they are floating after passing out on the centrifuge. It was a classic case of NDEs, but these pilots weren't even dying, they were just spun around until enough blood was drawn out of their heads that they passed out. So "near death experiences" is a very poorly worded phrase. It is actually more of an "oxygen deprivation in the brain experience." Out of body experiences are the product of a brain that can not function properly due to oxygen deprivation. Unless centrifuges have a mystical property to them that frees the soul from the body, I think that out of body experiences and NDEs have a rather boring and non-mystical explanation."

NDE=oxygen deprivation; plain and simple. In some ways reality is a bit disappointing. This mystical and amazing experience of your soul leaving your body is actually just your brain going haywire from oxygen deprivation.

Here is an excerpt from an article Major General James Whinnery wrote about his research in gravity induced loss of consciousness (G-LOC). See if you can find the similarities to NDEs:

"It is possible to classify the G-LOC episodes. The G-LOC experience includes specific visual symptoms (tunnel vision through blackout), convulsive activity, memory alterations, dreamlets, and other psychological symptoms. The major, overall G-LOC experience characteristics that have commonality with NDEs are shown below.

  Tunnel vision / bright light 
  Floating 
  Automatic movement 
  Autoscopy 
  Out-of-body experience 
  Not wanting to be disturbed 
  Paralysis 
  Vivid dreamlets / beautiful places
        a.  Euphoria
        b.  Dissociation
  Pleasurable
  Psychologic state alteration
  Friends / family inclusion
  Prior memories / thoughts inclusion
  Very memorable (when remembered)
  Confabulation
  Strong urge to understand"

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British General Charles Napier while in India


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 This is why your (last)

 This is why your (last) source isn't credible or respectable.

link wrote:

Freddie always claimed he devoted his life to the pursuit of Truth. But as Dee Wells was quick to point out when I visited her at York Street, where she has continued to live since Freddie's death, the truth could rapidly become meaningless for Freddie when it happened to suit him -- with women, for example.

Give me a break. "Freddie was a womanizer, that means he lies about everything."

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BobSpence1 wrote:So? It

BobSpence1 wrote:

So? It would be surprising if the experiences did not have a lot of similarities across different people, since our experiences are governed by the way our brains respond to reduced blood flow and other common aspects of that situation - just helps to prove how much our mental experiences are a function of the physical structure and chemistry of our brain and nervous system.

A couple of points:

1) Before Raymond Moody's seminal book entitled "Life After Life" was published in 1975 in which he presented case studies of NDEs, the tack of skeptics was simply to deny that anyone was really having a near-death experience or any experience whatsoever. The argument was that any notion of "life after death" was merely a fantasy or wishful-thinking and that any anecdotal evidence was simply a fabrication (although NDEs have been reported throughout recorded history).

2) As more academic case studies on NDEs were subsequently published in peer reviewed journals, the evidence for NDEs began to mount. Eventually, the skeptic was forced to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence that people were really experiencing something. At that point, the tack skeptics took was to argue that the experience was some kind of hallucination and that it had a perfectly "naturalistic" (i.e. materialistic) explanation. This is where you (as the skeptic) are right now. You have to provide a materialistic explanation why everyone is essentially having the same hallucinatory experience. I'm afraid that simply saying that "similarities" is what we would expect is really not much of explanation or argument. I will kindly ask you to exert a little more effort and make an honest attempt at crafting a real argument. In particular, I expect you to provide a compelling materialistic explanation for the following:

- the sound that indicates an OBE is imminent

- the ensuing out-of-body experience itself

- the realization of being "dead"

- floating up through a tunnel, culminating with a light

- seeing dead relatives and other loved ones who have already passed and speaking with spiritual figures

- coming in contact with a "being of light" or "light," which most identify as a deity (i.e. God).

- having a "life review"

- the ineffable experience of overwhelming bliss, unconditional love, and serenity

- the reluctance of not wanting to come back.

- the transformation of personality which subsequently occurs after the NDE

- the loss of the fear of death

BobSpence1 wrote:
You are very remiss in not mentioning Susan Blackmore, who has a BA (Hons) degree in psychology and physiology, and studied NDE ( and the paranormal) extensively in her earlier career, as a believer, and was lead by the results of her investigations into strong scepticism.

Why am I remiss? You're the skeptic. It is your responsiblity to provide the opposing view, not mine. Also, Susan Blackmore has never provided a scientific explanation that accounts for all the phenomena associated with NDEs.

By the way, Susan Blackmore says that she practices Zen Buddhism but does not identify herself as a Buddhist. This kind of double-speak does not exactly bolster her credentials as a bonafide atheist skeptical of all religion. And, if I am not mistaken, I believe reincarnation is a core belief of all forms of Buddhism.

Quote:

Blackmore is an active practitioner of Zen, although she identifies herself as "not a Buddhist".[10]

(source: Wikipedia: Susan Blackmore)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Blackmore

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Nikolaj wrote:Even with a

Nikolaj wrote:

Even with a completely strict materialistic world-view, there is nothing surprising about NDE's around the world exibiting the same, or similar symptoms. 

The brain plays weird sensery tricks on all of us every night, it's called dreaming.

There are several problems with your analysis.

1) The "dreaming" is taking place in a brain and body that is declared "clinically dead." IOW, the computer (to use the materialist's metaphor of the mind/brain) is without power. This presents problems for the materialist because he has to explain how the operating system and software applications (the metaphors employed to describe the mind on the materialist view) are executing while the hardware (the brain) is nonfunctional.

2) Everyone is essentially having the same "dream."

3) Those who are having the "dream" are having a dream of an out-of-body experience in which they are able to make observations in the emergency or operating room which are later confirmed by the medical staff.  

Nikolaj wrote:
It is not difficult to imagine that dying will cause the brain to create sensery experiences like warmth, a feeling of moving around, floating through a tunnel, and the memory, and imagination conjuring up various scenarios, like meeting deceaced loved ones, or deities.

The problem is that avowed atheists are also having these "fantasies." And to reiterate, the "imaginations" are occurring when the brain should not be able to generate any imaginations. How exactly does a clinically dead brain generate imaginations on the materialist view?

Nikolaj wrote:
The Pam Reynolds case is much more interesting. While her brain is being drained of blood she can experience a dreamlike state in which she thinks alot of stuff is happening that really isn't. This experience may also feel as though it lasts longer than it actually does, since that phenomenon is familiar to anyone who has woken up in the morning, looked at the clock, fallen asleep again and had what feels like a very long dream, only to wake up and see only 10 minutes have passed.

Correction. Her "dreamlike state" does not begin until her brain is completely drained of all blood. What makes Pam Reynolds' case interesting is that the nature of her surgery required that the surgeons place her brain in a clinically dead state.

Nikolaj wrote:
The ability to document things that has happened while she was out, is however, alot more interesting. Since this is only one case, it is not sufficient evidence to draw any conclussion, since it hasn't been repeated. With a p of 1, there is always the possibility of a fluke, a coincidence, or a hoax, but I'm not one to kill anyones buzz. 

Correction. It's not the only incident of a NDE in which an individual made an observation that was later confirmed by the medical staff.

Quote:

Many NDE-accounts seem to include elements which, according to several theorists, can only be explained by an out-of-body consciousness...

In another account, from a prospective Dutch NDE study [2], a nurse removed the  dentures of an unconscious heart attack victim, and was asked by him after his recovery to return them. It might be difficult to explain in conventional terms how an unconscious patient could later have recognized the nurse. [10]

(source: Wikipedia: Near death experience)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_Death_Experience#cite_note-autogenerated2-43

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Why do we bother with this

Why do we bother with this shit? He won't change his mind, and we won't change ours. Our standards of evidence are millennia apart. He thinks somebody said so is good enough, and we don't. All of his arguments are based on hearsay or conflation. How is it that they always end up with some 2-3 hundred replies?

After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him.

The moral: When you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut.
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What's this, another chapter

What's this, another chapter from Philosophy for Dummies?


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treat2 wrote:What's this,

treat2 wrote:
What's this, another chapter from Philosophy for Dummies?

 

Yes.


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Garbage

NDEs and OBEs are all garbage. People make shit up, especially if they can sell their "proofs" to idiots that buy up that conspiracy trash.

All of your "proofs" and rumors of "proofs" don't change the fact that there is no god or gods. It's all make believe and you know it. Shame on you for promoting the idiocy of religion.

Respectfully,
Lenny

"The righteous rise, With burning eyes, Of hatred and ill-will
Madmen fed on fear and lies, To beat and burn and kill"
Witch Hunt from the album Moving Pictures. Neal Pert, Rush


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Paisley wrote:Nikolaj

Paisley wrote:

Nikolaj wrote:

Even with a completely strict materialistic world-view, there is nothing surprising about NDE's around the world exibiting the same, or similar symptoms. 

The brain plays weird sensery tricks on all of us every night, it's called dreaming.

There are several problems with your analysis.

1) The "dreaming" is taking place in a brain and body that is declared "clinically dead." IOW, the computer (to use the materialist's metaphor of the mind/brain) is without power. This presents problems for the materialist because he has to explain how the operating system and software applications (the metaphors employed to describe the mind on the materialist view) are executing while the hardware (the brain) is nonfunctional.

Perhaps you should have read what Hamby said as well as previous threads on this subject. Clinically dead is not dead - dead. The brain is still running on the last little bit of oxygen and blood. When the brain is dead-dead, there is no coming back. NDEs are no more than low power operations in a CPU that is untrustworthy and giving blue screens. 

Paisley wrote:

2) Everyone is essentially having the same "dream."

No. They are having oxygen deprived brain misfirings which are as a PC in blue screen, errors and bullshit occurring.

When I was 18 I was shot in the head and nearly died. I had no NDE. I was so drugged I have foggy memories of being examined and have no clue if I was awake or it was imagination. The next I knew I awoke in a bed with bandages all around my head. So everyone is not having the same "dream", as I had no dream.

 

____________________________________________________________
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"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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Hambydammit wrote:Is this

Hambydammit wrote:
Is this one life all there really is?

All the evidence says that it is. Despite hocus pocus claims from preachers and urban legends about people who have been to heaven and come back, there's no evidence that life goes on after death. Consciousness is dependent on physical processes. When the brain dies and the body decays, there is no longer an organized physical process, so the only logical conclusion is that there is no consciousness.

The bottom line is that you have already gone on record in another thread and explicitly stated that you see "consciousness as a continuum." That's an argument for pantheism, not atheism.

Hambydammit wrote:

There is a big difference between clinical death and brain death. Clinical death usually results from cardiac arrest. When the heart stops pumping, neurons no longer receive oxygen. Without new oxygen, they continue to fire for a short while, sometimes with odd side effects. It would only be a slight stretch to say that a clinically dead person is mostly dead.

Consciousness is lost within seconds at the onset of clinical death. And consciousness is what is at issue here.

Quote:

At the onset of clinical death, consciousness is lost within several seconds. Measurable brain activity stops within 20 to 40 seconds.[2]

(source: Wikipedia: Clinical death)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinical_death

Hambydammit wrote:

What, then, can we say about people who are clinically dead? For one thing, they are the only people who have ever had NDE's and lived to tell about them.

That's a profound insight. Why do you think they call it "NEAR death experiences?" Duh!

Hambydammit wrote:
In fact, it's ironic that in the vernacular, many people say they have "transcendent" experiences while on mind altering drugs. The reality is that they are actually moving to a lower level of consciousness!

Unfortunately, the Harvard scientists (i.e. Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, and Ralph Metzner) who were the first  to experiment with "mind altering drugs" (e.g. LSD) disagree with your conclusion.

Quote:

In 1964, Leary co-authored a book with Alpert and Ralph Metzner called The Psychedelic Experience, based upon the Tibetan Book of the Dead. In it, they wrote:

 

 

 

"A psychedelic experience is a journey to new realms of consciousness. The scope and content of the experience is limitless, but its characteristic features are the transcendence of verbal concepts, of space-time dimensions, and of the ego or identity. Such experiences of enlarged consciousness can occur in a variety of ways: sensory deprivation, yoga exercises, disciplined meditation, religious or aesthetic ecstasies, or spontaneously. Most recently they have become available to anyone through the ingestion of psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, DMT, etc. Of course, the drug does not produce the transcendent experience. It merely acts as a chemical key—it opens the mind, frees the nervous system of its ordinary patterns and structures."

 

 

 

(source: Wikipedia: Timothy Leary)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_leary

Hambydammit wrote:
Critics will often object at this point in a conversation. After all, scientists have not explained every aspect of NDEs. In fact, most scientists are perfectly willing to admit that there are some very puzzling things about them, and the explanations are not always apparent. Hopefully, you've gotten good at spotting the fallacy. Someone who wants to believe in NDEs will say, "Since science doesn't have an answer, it must be proof of the afterlife." This is a fallacy of ignorance, and is not valid logic.

What kind of nonsense is this? If you are not able to give a materialistic explanation that accounts for all the major aspects that are reported in NDEs, then your materialistic explanation obviously does not qualify as an adequate explanation. It's that simple. Failure to articulate an adequate materialistic explanation on your part does not constitute a fallacy of ignorance on my part.

Hambydammit wrote:
Still, many will argue that there are common threads. People from different religions have the same kinds of experiences. Kevin Nelson, a neurophysiologist at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, has this to say: "People say that because there's a common thread running through them all there must be a spiritual element," he says. "I look at that common thread and I see a biological process." (New Scientist, October 17, 2006) Nelson believes that he can explain the entire experience in purely scientific terms. He might be able to, but then again, he might miss something. This is not as relevant as it may seem. The important point is that good critical thinking demands that we not make up answers.

Sorry, it's relevant. To reiterate: If your materialistic explanation does not account for all the facts, then your materialistic explanation fails to pass the muster. Try again.

Hambydammit wrote:
In fact, there is a common misconception about NDEs. It's not necessary to be at death's door to experience one. Quoting from the New Scientist article:

Nelson says that that's because despite the name, NDE has little to do with actually being close to death. He argues that the experience stems from an acute bout of "REM intrusion" - a glitch in the brain's circuitry that, in times of extreme stress, may flip it into a mixed state of awareness where it is both in REM sleep and partially awake at the same time. "The concept that our brain is either 100 per cent awake or 100 per cent in REM sleep is absolutely erroneous," says Mark Mahowald, a neurologist at the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Minneapolis. "We can have pieces of one state intruding into another, and that's when things get interesting."

REM intrusion is a common feature of narcolepsy - a neurological disorder characterised by uncontrollable bouts of sleep that can cause elaborate hallucinations and, sometimes, out-of-body experiences. But REM intrusion can affect anyone, and frequently does. Recent estimates suggest that up to 40 per cent of people have experienced "sleep paralysis", a form of REM intrusion in which you awaken with part of your brain still in REM sleep and your body paralysed. Often the result is a terrifying feeling of being unable to move, accompanied by visual or auditory hallucinations and pressure on the chest. Sleep paralysis has been offered as a rational explanation for many apparently supernatural phenomena, including witch attacks, visitations by the dead, and more recently alien abductions.

I believe you are equating NDEs (near-death experiences) with OBEs (out-of-body experiences). They are not exactly interchangeable terms. And while it is true that the typical NDE entails an OBE, the converse is not true. The OBE is a separate phenomena unto itself. Also, regardless of whether or not "sleep paralysis" precedes an OBE does not in any way diminish or invalidate the experience. If I have an out-of-body experience, then I am experiencing a conscious state out of the body by definition.

Hambydammit wrote:

Scientists are experimenting with the phenomenon of out of body sight, too. Olaf Blanke, a cognitive neurologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, has caused subjects to see their legs, disembodied, from a floating perspective, simply by applying an electrical stimulus to the angular gyrus, a part of the brain involved with processing sensory information. (New Scientist)

Are they really "disembodied?" If they are, then you are making a case for the reality of the out-of-body experience. If they're not, then the scientists haven't really reproduced the experience.

Hambydammit wrote:

There's yet another example of transcendental experiences that we should look at. Epileptics often report NDE-like perceptions after having particularly intense seizures. Seizures which effect the limbic system are well known for causing religious or transcendent experiences. In a way, this is an opposite cause for a similar effect. When a person has a seizure, their brain is firing too many neurons at once. Just like a computer, our brain seldom uses all of it's capacity at once. The myth that we only use 10% of our brains comes from a simple misunderstanding of this concept. When a computer is idle, or is only running a few processes, it uses a small percentage of its total processing power. Our brains function essentially the same way. Also, just like a computer, when we over tax our brains, the results are not always pleasant. How this relates to clinical death is simple. When the heart weakens, the body must compensate by increasing blood pressure drastically, keeping precious oxygen flowing to the brain. The increase in pressure wreaks havoc on the brain. Though it is still alive, it is far from normal functioning.

Bruce Greyson (professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia and prominent researcher in NDEs) developed a NDE-scale that undermines your argument that NDEs are nothing more than epileptic seizures.

Quote:

The NDE-scale also aims to differentiate between, what the field claims are, "true" NDEs, on one hand, and syndromes or stress responses that are not related to an NDE, on the other hand [28]. Examples of the last category would be the similar incidents experienced by sufferers of epilepsy. Greyson's NDE-scale was later validated using Rasch model scaling. [20]

(source: Wikipeida: Near death experience)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_death_experience#cite_note-26

Hambydammit wrote:

New research is coming in all the time, however, and as the connection becomes more and more concrete, it's becoming harder and harder to dismiss the evidence that NDEs, as well as mystical experiences not associated with dying, are simply misfiring neurons playing a game with our perception.

Okay. Let's take your explanation that NDEs are nothing more than
"misfiring neurons playing a game with our perception." Therefore, seizures (misfiring of neurons) result in the following:

1. The subject has the sensory impression of a humming noise (the sound that one hears when you blow lightly over the top of a Coke bottle - the primordial sound which Hindus identify as "om" ).

2. The subject realizes that he is "dead."

3. The subject experiences an OBE, floating above his body and getting a bird's-eye view of the surroundings.

4. The subject then experiences floating through a tunnel, culiminating in a bright light.

5. The subject communicates with dead relatives and spiritual beings

6. The subject encounters a being of light which he will most-likely identify as God.

7. The subject will undergo a life reveiw in which he will experience the emotions of every individual in which he has interacted with.

8. The subject experiences beautiful emotions - unconditional love, bliss, serenity, etc

9. The subject is reluctant to return to his body. IOW, he desires that his neurons continue to misfire.

10. The subject will undergo a dramatic change in personality after the seizure is over by becoming a more loving human being.

What is the conclusion to draw from the "misfiring of neurons?" Answer: It's appears to be a pretty damn good experience. And of course, this is the very same conclusion that most people draw who have undergone a near-death experience.

Hambydammit wrote:

We can look at this another way. Dismiss for a moment all the possible explanations that scientists have come up with. In a recent survey, researchers found that among people who had had NDEs, a full 60 percent had sleep problems involving REM intrusion. Only 24 percent of people who had not had NDEs had similar problems. There is clearly a physical connection between REM intrusion and NDEs. Which explanation makes more sense? That there is an afterlife, and the apparent connection to sleep problems is coincidence, or that the connection is evidence of what really causes them? (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12274186/)

This is tantamount to saying: What is a better explanation? That there is an afterlife or that clincial death causes individuals to experience NDEs. Is there a physical connection to NDEs? Answer: Yes - it's called cardiac arrest or clinical death! How have you invalidated the near-death experiences? Answer: You haven't.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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So to summarize your last

So to summarize your last post:  Every one ought to do acid.

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Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Well, the first thing is that it is not entirely true that all NDE events are all that similar. Read your own links Paisley. They vary across cultural boundaries and children, who presumably are not yet fully acculturated report NDE events that are lacking in details.

I never said that they did not vary. However, they do manifest a typical progression. And children  who have not been fully acculturated (whatever the culture) would report events lacking in details on a large array of experiences (not only NDEs).

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Also, I must note that a friend of mine had one after an accident several years ago and his report was nothing like that standard one that we are supposed to expect. He reports that he had an angry conversation with some entity on the other side and was then shown his future before he was sent back. Apparently, some of what he was shown has subsequently occurred but he has never given me the details on that, so it may just be things that could happen to anyone are thus fail to be remarkable.

Not all NDEs are pleasant. Some are definitely hellish. And that your friend professes to have had a NDE just lends more credence to the reality of the experience. 

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:
 

If there are any similarities, those are hardly surprising as the way that the brain is stressed in the process of dying may be similar across many people.

There is no materialistic explanation that accounts for the similarities.

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:
 

As far as Pam Reynolds goes, she had the most specific parts of her NDE at the beginning of her surgery when she was only under general anesthesia. While situational awareness is fairly rare in such cases, it has been documented in the medical literature. Hell's bells, there are even support groups for people who have been traumatized by the phenomenon.

 

@ 11:05 Cardiac arrest is complete and her brain waves become flat. However, Pam Reynolds NDE continues.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pam_Reynolds

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:
  

In any case, the fact that she could describe what a bone saw looks like may not be all that controversial. Sure, she claims that she did not know that information but I don't really see how we could know that with certainty. Her surgeon may have explained the procedure to her, in fact, informed consent laws probably require some type of discussion before she can sign the consent forms. She may have seen one on TV at some point, she could have researched her surgery on the internet.

The bone saw is not the only thing. Reynolds stated that she heard a female voice say that "her veins and arteries are very small." This was later confirmed by the female cardiac surgeon on the staff.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pam_Reynolds

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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

So to summarize your last post:  Every one ought to do acid.

Please quote the statement in my last post where I said that everyone should do acid.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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The Flying Spaghetti Monster

The Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote:

It's funny because I never really made a connection of it being a "near death experience," but I believe I've encountered this so called phenomenon several times. In fact, I can do it on command...

You can induce clinical death on command? Interesting.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote:

First off, let me just say I do NOT believe there is anything supernatural occurring during one of these episodes. I do not know the exact biological trigger that sets it off, but what I believe it to be is simply an involuntary lapse into lucid dreaming during a woken state. There have been studies that suggest REM during these NDE’s, and given the symptoms of temporary paralysis, increased sensitivity to light and sound, and often unexplainable brain activity (or visions), I think it makes more sense than “God didn’t think much of me before but now he’s handed me a mission!"

 

Ok, now I’ll explain my own personal experience with this (or whatever the hell it is that happens to me). It started when I was younger, when I was trying to go to sleep and would all of a sudden become paralyzed but still awake. I could move my eyes, remained conscious, could still hear everything going on around me, but I was definitely not asleep.

 

AS BAD AS IT SOUNDS NOW…I honestly thought I was being intruded by ghosts, since I was a child and had limited understanding of science and an overactive imagination. I would get cold chills and sweat which I believe was a response of being absolutely terrified, but one of the signs of being haunted is a sudden drop of temperature. I knew this, because I watched a lot of horror movies.

Now, I also don’t believe in ghosts so that theory got shit-canned years ago, but after researching my experiences I came across lucid dreaming and that seemed to make the most sense. The neat part, is I can create this state on command very easily. All I do is make myself extremely tired (works best when I stay up for 24 hours or longer playing games or whatever), I lay down and allow my body to relax (concentrating on each individual muscle), and NOT allowing myself to drift into sleep. You just allow your body to relax while remaining focused.

 

When you enter this state your first initial response is panic because you cannot move your body. It’s pretty much automatic, even as an adult, if you’re not used to it. You can struggle and get yourself out of this paralysis but it’s difficult. So difficult, in fact, my muscles would be tired after coming out of this. Especially my neck muscles because when you cannot move your body, I think turning your head seems to be a person’s response in determining if you’re really paralyzed (it was at least with me). Over time, I was able to get slip in and slip out of this state easily.

 

Now, this is just my personal experience and there are differences between what I go through and what others claim to go through. I don’t have visions, I never saw a bright blinding light, I HAVE gotten the sensation of lifting from my body. Not always, but occasionally it feels as if I’m levitating. I cannot look down at my body (especially since I cannot move my neck), but there’s a definite feeling of being stationary, and suddenly lifting. 

 

I would just assume that the average person who goes through one of these episodes either doesn’t have the control that I do, so they quickly enter a dream state, or maybe they have a more exaggerated episode than me. I considered doing a sleep trial to see if I’m right on my assumption is all just lucid dreaming but haven’t had the time. Feel free to offer any opinions, but be warned…I’m a skeptical person. I don’t believe in the paranormal so I’m not trying to lean my experiences in that direction, even though they probably sound weird to many of you.

To reiterate: OBEs (out-of-body experiences) and NDEs (near-death experiences) are not interchangeable terms. OBEs are fairly common. I have had many OBEs, but I have never experienced a NDE (at least not in the present life).

Also, your statement "but occasionally it feels as if I’m levitating" definitely lends itself to what many would call the paranormal.  

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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The Flying Spaghetti Monster

The Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote:

In response to increased NDE's during resuscitation, I've also heard the theory that when your body and mind are temporarily disconnected, the NDE is the brain's response to coping with this breach (hence the supplemented visions). Meaning, you're basically dead but the brain is still somehow slightly active (maybe the brain doesn't always die at the exact same moment as the body?), and when you're resuscitated, it's like hitting a reset button on your brain and that's just the end result. Maybe a lack of blood flow followed by a sudden burst of electrical activity and/or adrenaline affects the mind during this helpless state? I'm sure there's a biological explanation for all of this that we either don't understand yet, or which may be documented but not added to this thread.

This is simply an "argument from personal belief." And belief being displayed here is a faith-commitment to materialism.

 

 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Anonymouse wrote:Penn &

Anonymouse wrote:

Penn & Teller on NDE/OBE : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1YmEkCJ87s

And neuroscientist Michael Persinger recreates them in his lab : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCVzz96zKA0

Man, that "God Helmet" looks really dorky.

And this : http://www.skepdic.com/nde.html

"in 2006 scientists demonstrated brain activity in someone in a vegetative state, which is not identical to a flat EEG but which indicates that some machines might detect  brain activity while others do not.* Thus, those researchers who claim that their patients have memories of experiences they had when they were dead (as Dr. Michael Saborn does of musician Pam Reynolds) may be mistaken. Just because their machines don't register anything cannot be taken as proof positive that a person is dead, nor can it be taken as proof positive that the patient isn't aware, on some level, of what is going on around her. Unconscious patients may hear what surgeons and nurses are saying, even if the hospital machines aren't registering any brain activity.*"

"At this point in our knowledge, to claim that NDEs provide strong evidence that the soul exists independently of the body, and that there is an afterlife awaiting that soul that just happens to coincide with the beliefs and wishes of the near-death experient, seems premature."

Persistent vegetative state (PVS) is not the same thing as clinical death.  Enough said. 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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cervello_marcio wrote: This

cervello_marcio wrote:

 This is why your (last) source isn't credible or respectable.

link wrote:

Freddie always claimed he devoted his life to the pursuit of Truth. But as Dee Wells was quick to point out when I visited her at York Street, where she has continued to live since Freddie's death, the truth could rapidly become meaningless for Freddie when it happened to suit him -- with women, for example.

Give me a break. "Freddie was a womanizer, that means he lies about everything."

Peer-Review or it didn't happen.

What exactly is your point? That Alfred J. Ayer was a liar and that he lied about his near-death experience?

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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spike.barnett wrote:Why do

spike.barnett wrote:

Why do we bother with this shit?

That's a question I am hoping that you will be able to answer for yourself.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Jormungander wrote:We have

Jormungander wrote:

We have already been over this.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/17111

"Dr. Jamer Whinnery did centrifuge tests on pilots for the Air Force and they kept reporting out of body experiences. It turns out that you lose all sense of where you are when your brain is starved of oxygen. Also the pilots reported seeing bright lights, feeling at peace, and feeling that they are floating after passing out on the centrifuge. It was a classic case of NDEs, but these pilots weren't even dying, they were just spun around until enough blood was drawn out of their heads that they passed out. So "near death experiences" is a very poorly worded phrase. It is actually more of an "oxygen deprivation in the brain experience." Out of body experiences are the product of a brain that can not function properly due to oxygen deprivation. Unless centrifuges have a mystical property to them that frees the soul from the body, I think that out of body experiences and NDEs have a rather boring and non-mystical explanation."

NDE=oxygen deprivation; plain and simple. In some ways reality is a bit disappointing. This mystical and amazing experience of your soul leaving your body is actually just your brain going haywire from oxygen deprivation.

Here is an excerpt from an article Major General James Whinnery wrote about his research in gravity induced loss of consciousness (G-LOC). See if you can find the similarities to NDEs:

"It is possible to classify the G-LOC episodes. The G-LOC experience includes specific visual symptoms (tunnel vision through blackout), convulsive activity, memory alterations, dreamlets, and other psychological symptoms. The major, overall G-LOC experience characteristics that have commonality with NDEs are shown below.

  Tunnel vision / bright light 
  Floating 
  Automatic movement 
  Autoscopy 
  Out-of-body experience 
  Not wanting to be disturbed 
  Paralysis 
  Vivid dreamlets / beautiful places
        a.  Euphoria
        b.  Dissociation
  Pleasurable
  Psychologic state alteration
  Friends / family inclusion
  Prior memories / thoughts inclusion
  Very memorable (when remembered)
  Confabulation
  Strong urge to understand"

No, it's not a classic case of  a near-death experience (I outlined the the characteristics of a typical NDE in the OP and your list does not agree with those characteristics). Also, how does saying "out-of-body experiences are due to oxygen deprivation" invalidate the out-of-body experience itself?

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The Flying Spaghetti Monster

The Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote:

It's funny because I never really made a connection of it being a "near death experience," but I believe I've encountered this so called phenomenon several times. In fact, I can do it on command...

First off, let me just say I do NOT believe there is anything supernatural occurring during one of these episodes. I do not know the exact biological trigger that sets it off, but what I believe it to be is simply an involuntary lapse into lucid dreaming during a woken state. There have been studies that suggest REM during these NDE’s, and given the symptoms of temporary paralysis, increased sensitivity to light and sound, and often unexplainable brain activity (or visions), I think it makes more sense than “God didn’t think much of me before but now he’s handed me a mission!"

 

Ok, now I’ll explain my own personal experience with this (or whatever the hell it is that happens to me). It started when I was younger, when I was trying to go to sleep and would all of a sudden become paralyzed but still awake. I could move my eyes, remained conscious, could still hear everything going on around me, but I was definitely not asleep.

 

AS BAD AS IT SOUNDS NOW…I honestly thought I was being intruded by ghosts, since I was a child and had limited understanding of science and an overactive imagination. I would get cold chills and sweat which I believe was a response of being absolutely terrified, but one of the signs of being haunted is a sudden drop of temperature. I knew this, because I watched a lot of horror movies.

Now, I also don’t believe in ghosts so that theory got shit-canned years ago, but after researching my experiences I came across lucid dreaming and that seemed to make the most sense. The neat part, is I can create this state on command very easily. All I do is make myself extremely tired (works best when I stay up for 24 hours or longer playing games or whatever), I lay down and allow my body to relax (concentrating on each individual muscle), and NOT allowing myself to drift into sleep. You just allow your body to relax while remaining focused.

 

When you enter this state your first initial response is panic because you cannot move your body. It’s pretty much automatic, even as an adult, if you’re not used to it. You can struggle and get yourself out of this paralysis but it’s difficult. So difficult, in fact, my muscles would be tired after coming out of this. Especially my neck muscles because when you cannot move your body, I think turning your head seems to be a person’s response in determining if you’re really paralyzed (it was at least with me). Over time, I was able to get slip in and slip out of this state easily.

 

Now, this is just my personal experience and there are differences between what I go through and what others claim to go through. I don’t have visions, I never saw a bright blinding light, I HAVE gotten the sensation of lifting from my body. Not always, but occasionally it feels as if I’m levitating. I cannot look down at my body (especially since I cannot move my neck), but there’s a definite feeling of being stationary, and suddenly lifting. 

 

I would just assume that the average person who goes through one of these episodes either doesn’t have the control that I do, so they quickly enter a dream state, or maybe they have a more exaggerated episode than me. I considered doing a sleep trial to see if I’m right on my assumption is all just lucid dreaming but haven’t had the time. Feel free to offer any opinions, but be warned…I’m a skeptical person. I don’t believe in the paranormal so I’m not trying to lean my experiences in that direction, even though they probably sound weird to many of you.

 

Sounds like a fairly standard hypnagogic hallucination to me.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypnagogia

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Subdi Visions wrote:NDEs and

Subdi Visions wrote:

NDEs and OBEs are all garbage. People make shit up, especially if they can sell their "proofs" to idiots that buy up that conspiracy trash.

All of your "proofs" and rumors of "proofs" don't change the fact that there is no god or gods. It's all make believe and you know it. Shame on you for promoting the idiocy of religion.

Studies in NDEs and OBEs are well beyond the view that "they're all just made up" stage. Even well-known skeptics (e.g. Susan Blackmore) are willing to acknowledge this much. Posts like yours simply reveal a closed-minded and juvenile attitude that is, unfortunately, all too prevalent on this forum. 

Incidentally, the more intellectually sophisticated atheist would never argue that  the nonexistence of God is an established fact.

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Paisley wrote:You can induce

Paisley wrote:

You can induce clinical death on command? Interesting.

No, it's not clinical death. As another member mentioned, it's probably Hypnagogia. My body has fallen asleep but my mind is conscious. And yes, I eventually began to control it so I can slip in and out of this state as I wish. Not that I really want to.


Paisley wrote:

To reiterate: OBEs (out-of-body experiences) and NDEs (near-death experiences) are not interchangeable terms. OBEs are fairly common. I have had many OBEs, but I have never experienced a NDE (at least not in the present life).

Also, your statement "but occasionally it feels as if I’m levitating" definitely lends itself to what many would call the paranormal.  

I don't think what I'm talking about is either or. I don't believe in OBE's or NDE's. I was explaining what I go through and how I think others do confusing it for an outer body experience or near death experience. And no, I do not believe in the paranormal. Feeling like I'm levitating is probably just a reaction to being so relaxed.


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Paisley wrote:The Flying

Paisley wrote:

The Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote:

In response to increased NDE's during resuscitation, I've also heard the theory that when your body and mind are temporarily disconnected, the NDE is the brain's response to coping with this breach (hence the supplemented visions). Meaning, you're basically dead but the brain is still somehow slightly active (maybe the brain doesn't always die at the exact same moment as the body?), and when you're resuscitated, it's like hitting a reset button on your brain and that's just the end result. Maybe a lack of blood flow followed by a sudden burst of electrical activity and/or adrenaline affects the mind during this helpless state? I'm sure there's a biological explanation for all of this that we either don't understand yet, or which may be documented but not added to this thread.

This is simply an "argument from personal belief." And belief being displayed here is a faith-commitment to materialism.

 

 

I have absolutely no idea what you're implying there.


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Paisley thinks that

Paisley thinks that physicalist monism is a faith that requires as much positive belief in the existence of physical realities, and only physical realities, as does dualism.

 

He's a classical dualist, though- just so you don't spend dozens of pages discussing things he doesn't believe in. Oh, and he also believes in a universal consciousness, and that consciousness is awareness, and vice versa. If you ask him to define either of those terms, he will give you a circular definition that involves the other of those two words, and then he'll get mad if you say he hasn't properly defined his terms yet.

Just FYI.

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Paisley wrote:What exactly

Paisley wrote:

What exactly is your point? That Alfred J. Ayer was a liar and that he lied about his near-death experience?

Nope, that there was no one to keep the author's obvious bias in check.

PS- Your thread fails.

"Do not, as some ungracious pastors do, show me the steep and thorny way to heaven. Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine, himself the primrose path of dalliance treads. And recks not his own rede."


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pauljohntheskeptic

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Perhaps you should have read what Hamby said as well as previous threads on this subject. Clinically dead is not dead - dead. The brain is still running on the last little bit of oxygen and blood. When the brain is dead-dead, there is no coming back. NDEs are no more than low power operations in a CPU that is untrustworthy and giving blue screens. 

I have read what he said (and I might add it was painfully tedious) and I responded to it accordingly. Pam Reynold's NDE occurred when her brain was completely drained of blood. So that undermines your argument.

Quote:

During part of the operation she had no brain-wave activity and no blood flowing in her brain, which left her clinically dead

(source: Wikipedia: Pam Reynold's NDE)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pam_reynolds

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Paisley wrote:

2) Everyone is essentially having the same "dream."

No. They are having oxygen deprived brain misfirings which are as a PC in blue screen, errors and bullshit occurring.

NDEs have been formally studied and researchers have identify core characteristics of the experience which I have provided in the OP and supported by citing a source.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
 

When I was 18 I was shot in the head and nearly died. I had no NDE. I was so drugged I have foggy memories of being examined and have no clue if I was awake or it was imagination. The next I knew I awoke in a bed with bandages all around my head. So everyone is not having the same "dream", as I had no dream. 

You stated that you "had no NDE." If you didn't have a near-death experience, then you didn't experience the core "dream." Duh!

Incidentally, the core experiences or characteristics of the typical NDE are not really being disputed at this point. Skeptical researchers are not attempting to debunk the experience as such (that is a losing strategy). They are simply attempting to identify biological processes in order to somehow show that NDEs are nothing more than hallucinations.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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crazymonkie wrote:Paisley

crazymonkie wrote:

Paisley thinks that physicalist monism is a faith that requires as much positive belief in the existence of physical realities, and only physical realities, as does dualism.

 

He's a classical dualist, though- just so you don't spend dozens of pages discussing things he doesn't believe in. Oh, and he also believes in a universal consciousness, and that consciousness is awareness, and vice versa. If you ask him to define either of those terms, he will give you a circular definition that involves the other of those two words, and then he'll get mad if you say he hasn't properly defined his terms yet.

Just FYI.

K none of that applies to anything I was saying. Like, I don't have an interest discussing it with him, even if it was...the topic. Eye-wink


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If a brain revived, it was

If a brain revived, it was not dead. Death is defined as irreversible cessation of brain function.

Wiki wrote:

Note that brain electrical activity can stop completely, or drop to such a low level as to be undetectable with most equipment. This includes a flat EEG during deep anaesthesia or cardiac arrest.

It would require much more sophisticated equipment than typically present or necessary in a medical environment to prove complete absence of blood in the brain. Since the physical deterioration of the brain that leads to irreversible damage is due to the same loss of blood that affects neural activity, the fact that good recovery followed effectively proves that there was not sufficient loss of blood for long enough to completely stop activity for a sustained period. Memory would not be expected to register a period of zero activity which then picked up again - it is unsurprising if the patients remembered a more or less continuous experience.

Unless the eyes were known to be closed fully during the period of the experience, it is also not impossible that some vision was possible. Hearing would have also been possible, which would have given the mind important cues.

Once again, there is nothing here that really challenges the idea that consciousness cannot survive separate from the brain.

There have been several places where unusual notices are deliberately left on the top of cabinets or equipment in operating theaters, so as to be completely out of sight of anyone standing on the floor, that could form significant support for the reality of OOB experiences if reported by patients after recovery. AFAIK, there have been no such reports. Reports of sights and sounds in the vicinity of the patient that could have been normally witnessed, are not adequate to demonstrate non-corporeal sensory activity.

OOB experience, the feeling that one is really outside one's body and actually looking at it from elsewhere can be induced using virtual reality equipment, which demonstrates that the feeling of being outside your body requires only experiencing images and possibly other physical sensations consistent with being out of your body, which are well within the range of the hallucinatory mechanism. It therefore does not mean that your consciousness is actually somehow outside the body. The brain adjusts its perception of the location of physical 'self' to match sensory perception. At a simpler level, this is easily demonstrated with 'rubber hand' experiments, which I am sure Paisley, as a serious student of such topics, will be aware of... 

IOW, we appear to have no innate direct perception of the 'location' of our awareness.

 

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 Paisley, why don't you

 Paisley, why don't you contend with the fact that people who experience OBE's see absolutely nothing that's outside of their field of vision? Lay some photo's on the floor around a person that's having an NDE and they won't recognize a single one. I wonder why..

 

Right off the bat you're going to have to admit that if your seperate mind exists, it still resides and stays in the brain even upon death.

 

 

Oh that's right, it's the fuzzy warm feelings and subjective stories of visions of NDEs that you're after right? Not the actual facts.


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Patterns

Humans think, they observe and try to make sense of what's around them. What they think they are observing isn't always what they are really observing. Humans can and do mistake thier observations. They can and frequently do, make shit up. People that promote this new age garbage concerning nde and oob activity may want to believe it exists but that doesn't affect the reality of our material existence.

I am closed minded to bull shit and nde has a specific medical cause that has been researched, documented and explained ad nauseum  on this thread and several others and it has nothing to do with any god crap.

 

Incidentally, I never claimed to be an intellectually sophisticated atheist. I'm barely above mouth breathing idiot. But I don't need to be the sharpest tool in the shed to realize the argument for there being no way to prove a gods existence therefore I should be an agnostic fence sitter is retarded.  It's not possible for anything resembling a god to exist in our reality. It's just not possible, despite however afraid of dying you or others may be. Superman and Spiderman are also fantasies in case you were wondering.

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Madmen fed on fear and lies, To beat and burn and kill"
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cervello_marcio

cervello_marcio wrote:

Paisley wrote:

What exactly is your point? That Alfred J. Ayer was a liar and that he lied about his near-death experience?

Nope, that there was no one to keep the author's obvious bias in check.

William Cash was simply recounting what Dr. Jeremy George (Ayer's attending physician) had told him about Ayer's NDE. It's documented in the Wikipedia article on Ayer (see excerpt below). That prominent atheists have NDEs and report seeing a Divine Being does not exactly help your cause.

Quote:

Ayer was the BBC's famous atheist front-man.[7] Ayer wrote an article in 1988, "What I saw when I was dead."[8] In 2001 Dr. Jeremy George, the attending physician, told William Cash, who had written a play about Ayer, that Ayer had confided to him: "I saw a Divine Being. I'm afraid I'm going to have to revise all my books and opinions."[9] 

(source: Wikipedia: Alfred Jules Ayer)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Jules_Ayer

cervello_marcio wrote:

PS- Your thread fails.

Hardly. I have already responded to the Whinnery argument.

Do fighter pilots undegoing G-force oxygen deprivation...

1) have life reviews?

2) see beings of light?

3) have paranormal ESP abiliities (this is common with NDEs)?

4) see dead people that they had no idea were dead?

Are there any individuals who have been blind since birth and are able to see when undergoing G-force oxygen deprivation.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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crazymonkie wrote:Paisley

crazymonkie wrote:

Paisley thinks that physicalist monism is a faith that requires as much positive belief in the existence of physical realities, and only physical realities, as does dualism.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but physicalism (materialism) is a metaphysical belief, not a scientifically-established fact.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Sorry to burst your bubble,

Sorry to burst your bubble, but physicalism is the default empirical value system we have. We can sit here and woolgather for centuries about what the 'other half' of your or any dualist system truly is like. We can go out right now and gather objective (or at least close enough to be objective, subjective) information about the physical world.

Unless you or any other dualist is insane or in a terribly obstinate mood, 'this' reality, the physical world, is all that we have. The rest is speculation at best.

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:3

http://www.sandrablakeslee.com/articles/out-of-body_oct06.php

 

 

All you need right there. It was found out several years ago this is all attributed to normal brains behaving erratically. Out of body experiences can be recreated at will with any person.

Theism is why we can't have nice things.


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*HUGS Clockcat*

*HUGS Clockcat*


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:3

crazymonkie wrote:

*HUGS Clockcat*

 

Laughing out loud

 

 

Hi!


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Hey. I know I haven't been

Hey. I know I haven't been around here much lately.

Been kind of quiet in general, huh?

Well... New Paisley thread... eh? Eh? That always lights a fire under everyone's collective ass, huh?

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:3

crazymonkie wrote:

Hey. I know I haven't been around here much lately.

Been kind of quiet in general, huh?

Well... New Paisley thread... eh? Eh? That always lights a fire under everyone's collective ass, huh?

 

It's been debunked, so I'm guessing it will go on for at least 4 more pages.

Theism is why we can't have nice things.


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Yeah. We're already starting

Yeah. We're already starting on the 'dualism is the priveledged POV philosophically' tack again. Didn't take two or three pages to do it this time.

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Hi Paisley. Sorry for the

Hi Paisley. Sorry for the long time to respond.

Paisley wrote:

Nikolaj wrote:

Even with a completely strict materialistic world-view, there is nothing surprising about NDE's around the world exibiting the same, or similar symptoms. 

The brain plays weird sensery tricks on all of us every night, it's called dreaming.

There are several problems with your analysis.

1) The "dreaming" is taking place in a brain and body that is declared "clinically dead." IOW, the computer (to use the materialist's metaphor of the mind/brain) is without power. This presents problems for the materialist because he has to explain how the operating system and software applications (the metaphors employed to describe the mind on the materialist view) are executing while the hardware (the brain) is nonfunctional.

Well, you can't actaully know this. It is quite possible (and from a materilistic perspective, necesary) that the experiences take place before the brain enters the clinically dead state, or as it is returning to life. Just like you have no sense of when in time you have a dream, you have no sense of when you are experiencing the NDE. When the brain is deprived of oxygen, it will likely have a short period of activity, in which the NDE occours, just like an engine running on vapours from an otherwise empty gastank.

 

I'm reminded of a scene from one of my favorite Books: Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks, in which the main character is decapitated, and still sees the next few seconds, as he's head rolls on the ground to face his headless body. A powerful scene, but not at all unbelievable, since his brain still has oxygen from the last gust of blood it recieved before it was detached from his heart.

 

People say: "I had a dream last night", but as we know, it would probably be more appropriate to say, "I had a dream this morning", since the dreams you can remember, and recount to others, are dreams that you have just before you return to your wake state. You experience several periods of REM sleep during the night, and probably dream during all of them, but only the ones you have shortly before you wake up stay in your mind.

Paisley wrote:

2) Everyone is essentially having the same "dream."

Because everyone is having essentially the same experience: they are dying (or returning to life). While the brain is "running on vapours", why should it not be possible that it shuts down, or turns on varies brainregions in the same order: the "tunnel vision" section, then the "Thinking of relatives" section, then the "seeing bright glowing balls" section et.c.

 

And furthermore, they are having essentially the same experience, not exactly the same experience. For one thing, they see their own relatives, not somebody elses. This makes me think that that is because it is their brain having the experience, again completely consistent with a materialistic world view.

Paisley wrote:

3) Those who are having the "dream" are having a dream of an out-of-body experience in which they are able to make observations in the emergency or operating room which are later confirmed by the medical staff.

 

And as I said, this is intriguing, but you didn't say in your first post that all of those who experiences NDE's do that. You only said Pam Reynolds did. And I said that that was intriguing, and had me stumped, but that a p of one is not sufficient evidence to draw a definitive conclusion.

Are you now saying everyone who experiences NDE's have such coorporated stories? Because, like I said, I am intriguied, so if you can provide me with evidence, you have me right where you want me, but you can't just mention Pam Reynolds in the OP, and then go on to say Those who are having the "dream" are having a dream of an out-of-body experience in which they are able to make observations, and expect me not to notice.

You showed me evidence for one case, not all of them.

Paisley wrote:
Nikolaj wrote:
It is not difficult to imagine that dying will cause the brain to create sensery experiences like warmth, a feeling of moving around, floating through a tunnel, and the memory, and imagination conjuring up various scenarios, like meeting deceaced loved ones, or deities.

The problem is that avowed atheists are also having these "fantasies."

But do they identify the glowing ball as God? Or do only some of them do? You said yourself that diffent religious people recount their NDE's with their OWN deity in the staring role. Atheists don't have deities, so therefore where does the bright light-ball come from you say?

Well if I were to die and have a powerful experience of NDE, and later return I might think the ball was God, but that's just because I think about the concept of God alot. And the God would be one that suits my personality, I'm sure. Some sort of pantheistic, non-sentient presence of power of the universe, because that is the only God I can imagine. The rest are paradoxal.

But what about a former muslim, or former lutheran, or babtist, who is an atheist, but whose life has been steeped in images of one particular religion? If they return from an NDE believing anew, which God do you think they will say they met? Hmmm?

I would be interested to hear from a stone-age man, who has absolutely no concept of God whatsoever. If the only semi-religious ideas he has ever been exposed to is ansestor-worship, what might he say when recounting his NDE?

My guess is, if he follows the description of NDE's you recount in the OP he'd say: "I met the ancestors! They were all there smiling at me! ...oh, and there was also this light-ball there... I think it was probably some sort of torch so the ancestors could see better. No biggie"

Quote:
And to reiterate, the "imaginations" are occurring when the brain should not be able to generate any imaginations. How exactly does a clinically dead brain generate imaginations on the materialist view?
Who says the clinically dead brain is doing that? See "running on vapours" and "I had a dream this morning" above.

Paisley wrote:
Nikolaj wrote:
The Pam Reynolds case is much more interesting. While her brain is being drained of blood she can experience a dreamlike state in which she thinks alot of stuff is happening that really isn't. This experience may also feel as though it lasts longer than it actually does, since that phenomenon is familiar to anyone who has woken up in the morning, looked at the clock, fallen asleep again and had what feels like a very long dream, only to wake up and see only 10 minutes have passed.

Paisley wrote:
Correction. Her "dreamlike state" does not begin until her brain is completely drained of all blood.
How do you know? Can you identify the time during the night where a given dream you are having commences and ends?

Paisley wrote:
What makes Pam Reynolds' case interesting is that the nature of her surgery required that the surgeons place her brain in a clinically dead state.
And while her brain was beeing drained, or as it was being "refilled" she might have dreamlike states that seemed to last longer (or shorter) than the actual time passing, just like a dream

Nikolaj wrote:
The ability to document things that has happened while she was out, is however, alot more interesting. Since this is only one case, it is not sufficient evidence to draw any conclussion, since it hasn't been repeated. With a p of 1, there is always the possibility of a fluke, a coincidence, or a hoax, but I'm not one to kill anyones buzz. 

Correction. It's not the only incident of a NDE in which an individual made an observation that was later confirmed by the medical staff.

But it was the only incident you mentioned in the OP, so it was a p of one, at that point. But I'll look at the further stuff you linked to.

 

Well I was born an original sinner
I was spawned from original sin
And if I had a dollar bill for all the things I've done
There'd be a mountain of money piled up to my chin


Paisley
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crazymonkie wrote:Unless you

crazymonkie wrote:

Unless you or any other dualist is insane or in a terribly obstinate mood, 'this' reality, the physical world, is all that we have. The rest is speculation at best.

Actually, physical phenomena is not the only reality we have. We also have mental phenomena. Moreover, science has never established that the physical world is actually physical. That's not speculation. That's a fact. Hence, materialism (like dualism) is a metaphysical belief.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


ClockCat
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:3

Paisley, you should test your theory by allowing someone to stab you.